Road commission worried about new traffic

ALPENA – The Alpena County Road Commission has some concerns that when the new Meijer is built on M-32 it could lead to more traffic issues than there are currently.

The state road already is highly congested and a source of many accidents. Commissioners think measures should be explored for solutions to potential problems before the store is built instead of after.

Darrell Spragg raised the question about what can be done and if the state has done studies to gauge the potential increase in traffic. The answer he received from Managing Director Larry Orcutt wasn’t what Spragg was hoping to hear.

“The state won’t even consider doing a study until the store has been open for six months,” Orcutt said.

Spragg said it is important not to make the same mistakes as in the past, when there could have been steps taken to address traffic issues in advance and minimizing the problems once new development occurs.

“Everybody gets so excited that we overlook a bunch of stuff maybe we could have taken care of,” Spragg said. “It was the same as Walmart. If we wanted them to participate in finding an answer we should have asked them before it was built, not after. I think something needs to be done sooner rather than later for this too.”

The road commission has no direct say in how the traffic will be handled and where Meijer’s entrances and exits will be placed. It will consider drafting a plan to submit to the state, township and Meijer, as one it will support. Spragg said an exit that would release customers further west on M-32 would be a good way to relieve congestion on both Bagley Street and M-32 once the store is open. Orcutt said negotiations were taking place, but some property owners weren’t infested in selling or leasing the land needed to have a road leading west constructed.

Orcutt said he is involved in the planning process and the intergovernmental road committee has discussed the issue and more plans and solutions could be found before the store open in early 2015.

In other business:

  • the board got a preview of the 2014 budget and the major challenge for next year will be shrinking revenue and growing expenses.
  • Orcutt said the resurfacing project for Hubbard Lake Road from Werth Road to Spruce Road will take place in 2014 and the bidding process for the work will begin soon.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at